Teen gamers have as many friends as non-gamers

March 7, 2018, Uppsala University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Young digital gamers do not have fewer friends at school than their non-gamer peers, two new research articles from Uppsala University indicate.

In their study, researchers Lina Eklund and Sara Roman investigated how digital gaming affects 's friendship formation. The results show that neither the adolescents who spend much of their time gaming nor those who self-identify as gamers have fewer friends than their peers who play little or not at all. Evidently, too, students who are self-identified gamers tend to become friends with one another. In other words, the common interest of digital gaming seems to lead to new friendships at school.

The adolescent respondents (in their upper teens) themselves think that, as they approach adult life, they are limiting and managing their gaming in a way that enables them to prioritise what individuals of their age find important, such as friends, sport and school.

The study was based on analysis of all (115) first-year students at a new upper-secondary school in a Swedish metropolis. In particular, the authors analysed how the students' social networks were created and changed during their first year at the school. Ten in-depth interviews with student gamers were conducted.

"The results are both surprising and expected. Sure enough, we thought 'gamers' would turn out to be making friends with one another. Gaming is such an important part of today's youth culture that anything else would be odd. Just as adolescents used to get together through shared music tastes, so gaming is now a key element in media consumption. On the other hand, we weren't so sure whether players would prove to be less sociable, or thus have fewer friends at school. Here, the previous research is limited," Eklund says.

Explore further: In teens, strong friendships may mitigate depression associated with excessive video gaming

More information: Lina Eklund et al. Digital Gaming and Young People's Friendships, YOUNG (2018). DOI: 10.1177/1103308818754990

Lina Eklund et al. Do adolescent gamers make friends offline? Identity and friendship formation in school, Computers in Human Behavior (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.03.035

Related Stories

You're not alone in feeling alone

September 14, 2017

Feel like everyone else has more friends than you do? You're not alone— but merely believing this is true could affect your happiness. A new study from the University of British Columbia, Harvard Business School and Harvard ...

Not all gamers are low scorers on friendships, relationships

December 20, 2012

Not all video game players are destined for lives filled with failing relationships and dwindling friendships, according to Penn State researchers, who say that a lot depends on the role of the game-playing activity in the ...

Academic performance shapes student social networks

September 27, 2017

Based on data from the VKontakte social network, researchers at Higher School of Economics and the Vienna Medical University have found a relationship between students' academic performance and their closest social environment. ...

Mobile gadget gamers take lead in US: NPD

September 5, 2012

People who play games on smartphones or tablet computers in the United States now outnumber "hardcore gamers" devoted to videogame consoles, according to NPD Group findings released Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Why war is a man's game

August 15, 2018

No sex differences in attitudes or abilities are needed to explain the near absence of women from the battlefield in ancient societies and throughout history, it could ultimately all be down to chance, say researchers at ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.